A DENTIST handed his provisional driving licence to a convicted theory test fraudster in a bid to cheat the system.

Izmir Senaj went to the Swindon theory test centre on Milton Road wearing a bandage around his head in a bid to disguise himself. That put staff on their guard, as he had used the ruse at test centres elsewhere in the country.

But rather than pass his theory test, dentist Fabjan Rusta earned himself a four-month suspended sentence and a rebuke from Swindon magistrates.

It is the latest case to come before the Wiltshire courts involving attempts to cheat the system. In recent months around half a dozen men have been prosecuted for using stand-ins or hidden Bluetooth devices to dupe staff at the Swindon test centre.

Justin Davies, prosecuting on behalf of the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency, told magistrates Rusta was due to sit his test in Swindon in January 2019.

The man who walked through the door at around 10.30am on January 24 was not Rusta but Senaj, a man with 18 previous convictions for posing as others to take the test.

His head was wrapped in a bandage, which he claimed was the result of an accident at work, and he kept coughing into a handkerchief.

He handed over Rusta’s provisional driving licence and was able to recite the man’s date of birth and provide a passable signature.

But staff were suspicious. “The staff member’s manager recognised that method of operating from a poster circulated to test centres,” Mr Davies said.

She phoned the police as Senaj was taken through to take the test. Officers arrested him and took him back to Gablecross police station. Rusta’s driving licence was seized.

Mr Davies said: “Had it not been for the diligence of the centre staff this imposter would have passed this test. Mr Rusta’s theoretical knowledge would never have been tested and the entirety of his driving career would have been predicated on the original imposter obtaining that pass.”

Around two weeks later, Rusta applied for a new provisional licence saying his had been lost. He also booked a practical driving test.

Interviewed by the DVSA’s fraud squad later in the year, the Albanian claimed he had been duped by Senaj. He told officers he had a son who was severely disabled and he had wanted to get a driving licence so he could take his boy to health appointments.

Rusta said he had been in a café talking to his friends about his travails when he was approached by Senaj, who offered to help free of charge.

Rusta, of Simmons Close, London, pleaded guilty to supplying an article for use in a fraud.

Defending, Natalie Csengeri said her client had been naïve.

He was a man of previous good character. A dentist by training, he was now working as a sous chef in Bath as his Albanian qualifications did not allow him to work on teeth in the UK.

She said: “This is an individual who has never claimed any benefits. He pays his taxes. And, essentially, tries to do the best for his family.” Rusta was terrified of going to prison as his family could lose their home.

JPs sentenced him to four months imprisonment suspended for 18 months. He must complete 180 hours of unpaid work, pay £2,800 costs to the DVSA and a £115 victim surcharge.

Magistrate Paul Sample told Rusta: “The bench takes the view that the main harm is in thinking that you can go into a test centre and easily obtain qualifications without study and by breaking the law in conspiracy with others.

“We believe that we need to send a clear message to offenders that they cannot commit this type of fraud easily in the United Kingdom and that inevitably people who commit such offences can expect a prison sentence.”

Reacting, Andy Rice, DVSA Head of Counter Fraud and Investigation said: “The two parts of the driving test exist to ensure people have the correct skills, knowledge and attitude to drive safely on Britain’s roads.

“Fraudsters who are found trying to dodge either parts of the test will always face prosecution. This has led to a number of licence revocations, suspended sentences and some immediate prison terms.”